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32 words that will make or break your CV

March 20, 2014 18:03 IST

32 words that will make or break your CV



Words like 'team player', 'hard-worker,' and 'self-motivated' no longer impress employers, reveals a latest survey.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, one in six (17 per cent) hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing resumes.

A majority (68 per cent) spend less than two minutes.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.

It included a representative sample of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

As part of the survey, employers were asked to identify the commonly-used resume terms and pick the best and worst terms used by employees to demonstrate their skills and achievements.

Given the limited attention span, most employers emphasised on the demand for action-oriented words like 'achieved' 'improved', 'increased' and 'created' instead of 'dynamic', 'hard worker' 'go-getter' and the like. 

"Recruiters prefer information that is presented in a succinct, attractive and attention-grabbing manner," said Premlesh Machama, Managing Director at CareerBuilder India.

"There is no such thing as a one-size fits all resume no matter how well it is written.

Instead of using a generalised resume approach, recruiters prefer a targeted and much more effective approach. It is better to avoid cliches and subjective terms as they don't convey real information," Machama added.

Read on to find out the best and worst terms to use in your CV...

The worst resume terms

Respondents rated the following terms as turn-offs in a CV:

1. Best of breed: 38 per cent

2. Go-getter: 27 per cent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 per cent

4. Synergy: 22 per cent

5. Go-to person: 22 per cent

6. Thought leadership: 16 per cent

7. Value add: 16 per cent

8. Results-driven: 16 per cent

9. Team player: 15 per cent

10. Bottom-line: 14 per cent

11. Hard worker: 13 per cent

12. Strategic thinker: 12 per cent

13. Dynamic: 12 per cent

14. Self-motivated: 12 per cent

15. Detail-oriented: 11 per cent

16. Proactively: 11 per cent

17. Track record: 10 percent

Please click NEXT to check the best resume terms...

Image: Since employers spend less than two minutes on your CV, ensure to use powerful words.
Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh


The best words to use in your CV

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Meanwhile, employers would like to see the following terms on your CV:

1. Achieved: 52 per cent

2. Improved: 48 per cent

3. Trained/Mentored: 47 per cent

4. Managed: 44 per cent

5. Created: 43 per cent

6. Resolved: 40 per cent

7. Volunteered: 35 per cent

8. Influenced: 29 per cent

9. Increased/Decreased: 28 per cent

10. Ideas: 27 per cent

11. Negotiated: 25 per cent

12. Launched: 24 per cent

13. Revenue/Profits: 23 per cent

14. Under budget: 16 per cent

15. Won: 13 per cent

Image: The survey revealed that employers are keen to see a targetted resume
Photographs: Illustration by Dominic Xavier/
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